It’s no secret that I love The Balvenie. The house flavor profile really works for me and I’m a big fan of William Grant and Sons as a company. The brand has become a mini-Macallan in recent years with prices skyrocketing for no reason (aside from demand) but they continue to experiment with new releases and haven’t gone the route of NAS releases. I greatly appreciate that.
At the top of the Balvenie’s standard range is the 30 Year. Bottled at 47.8% ABV and without chill filtration, it’s a well-aged malt with good strength. At least as of a few years ago, The Balvenie put out two different 30 Year releases each year. This review is from the second 30 Year release of 2014. If I recall correctly, it was comprised of a combination of 7 or 8 ex-bourbon casks and ex-sherry butts. It was a special birthday pour for me a while back as that particular release and I were the same exact age when it was bottled.
It’s funny to tell this story now but my first taste of Balvenie 30 came at the distillery in 2011 and I actually wasn’t sure I liked it. The old wood note was new to me and it took a few tries for me to acquire the taste. These days, it’s one of my favorite notes in an old whisky. I’ve had it a bunch of times since then and I’m glad I don’t have it often as it makes it that much more special each time I come back to it.
I tasted this blind when I did this review which made it that much more interesting when I found it what I was drinking. I guessed the brand halfway through the pour but didn’t know the age until the reveal. Let’s get to the review!
|Nose||Red berries, sugary, Sherry, ripe banana, soft oak, floral, hint of mint|
|Taste||Wonderfully spicy, big honey, toffee, vanilla, berries, doughy, orange citrus, pixie sticks|
|Finish||Long, bready, oily, thick, toasted sugar, honey, hint of astringent wood, evolving and complex|
|Overall Thoughts||Drinking this blind, the nose initially led me to think it was a Benrinnes. However, as soon as I tasted it, I knew that I was way off the mark and the familiar flavor of the Balvenie started to shine through.|